Published on November 3rd, 2017 | by Denise Borders0
Album Review: Pears/Direct Hit! “Human Movement” Split
Fat Wreck Chords
By Ricky Frankel
Splits are somewhat difficult to review because in all honesty one band usually does better work than the other. So it can be hard to make a solid opinion on the release. This however is not the case for Human Movement. Direct Hit! and PEARS teamed up to release a split album where both bands have done absolutely stellar work. Not only does the album feature five new tracks from both bands, but also each group covered one song from the other’s earlier releases.
Direct Hit!’s side starts out with their signature phrase “Fuck You! Get Pumped!” and then they jump right into “You Got What You Asked For” which was an interesting first choice because rather than one of their more poppier songs that they are known for, it is a hardcore song in the same vein as “We’re Fucked” and “Do The Sick.” “You Got What You Asked For” along with other songs on Direct Hit!’s side of this split like “Nothing” really shows that the band is skilled in both melodic and hardcore punk. Most notably it is Nick Woods’s harsh vocals that really make these tracks stand out. “Blood On Your Tongue” is much more on the melodic side of the spectrum. It is some of Direct Hit!’s most catchy work in their career thus far. They really mixed things up with the addition of some synthesizer fills and vocally they took a more anthemic root.
Not only did Direct Hit! and PEARS decide to cover a song from the each other’s earlier releases, both bands made the songs their own. In Direct Hit!’s case they covered PEARS’ song “You’re Boring.” Yes, Direct Hit! did a fantastic job replicating PEARS while still maintaining their own style, but they also made very interesting tweaks to the track. They actually switched up different portions of the song that it actually ends on the chorus rather than the verse. They slowed the melodic parts down a bit and added some effects to make sound a bit more “shiny.”
1. You Got What You Asked For (Direct Hit!)
2. Blood on Your Tongue (Direct Hit!)
3. Open Your Mind (Direct Hit!)
4. Shifting the Blame (Direct Hit!)
5. You’?re Boring (Direct Hit!)
6. Nothing (Direct Hit!)
7. Hey There, Begonia (PEARS)
8. Mollusk?s Mouth (PEARS)
9.Arduous Angel (PEARS)
10. Misery Conquers the World (PEARS)
11. The World Is Ending (Sorta) (PEARS)
12. Never Now (PEARS)
PEARS went a little darker and harder (believe it or not) than usual in general with their side of the LP. Their first track “Hey There, Begonia” is a perfect example of how the band continues to perfect their craft and switching from hardcore to anthemic parts within seconds. Zach Quinn’s screams are sharper than ever and his melodic vocals are extremely powerful especially when he and Brian Pretus harmonize during the chorus of the track. Lyrically “Hey There, Begonia” stands out not just on this record, but out of all PEARS’ discography because it is one of the rare times the decided to take a political route. Instead of talk about nation and international issues, they address the gentrification of their hometown New Orleans. And of course, the band cleverly threw in some Easter eggs on their side of Human Movement. If you pay close attention to the words you can hear Zach yell, ‘Wake up!” — clearly a nod to System Of A Down. PEARS also experiment a little bit with thrash most notably in the song “Misery Conquers The World.” There are once again great melodic vocals and yelling from Zach and they incorporated a near-metal break down where you can hear another Easter egg (I’ll let you figure that one out).
The band the blew away the expectations of their cover of DIrect Hit!’s song “The World Is Ending (No One Cares).”Renamed to “The World Is Ending (Sorta),” PEARS actually brought on Maura Weaver of the Mixtapes to record her part of Masked Intruder’s “Heart Shaped Guitar” and incorporated it into the middle of the track. It was a brilliant move and it works incredibly well.
Human Movement is quite the accomplishment for both Direct Hit! and PEARS. Just the fact that these two punk juggernauts recorded a split together is pretty awesome. Hopefully we’ll see more of these types of releases in the future. Until then, it is fair to say that Human Movement is easily one of the best records of 2017 whether you are a fan of both bands, just one of them or you are just beginning to explore their discographies.